Tony Sacca

  Louis Prima Jr.

Louis Prima Jr. is excited to present the songs and music of his legendary dad, Louis Prima and performed his act at the 3121 Showroom , which was occupied by pop star Prince at the Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casino.

Louis Prima Jr. was born right here in Las Vegas and has great memories growing up and traveling with his legendary dad during school breaks. He remembers watching his dad performing in the Copa Room at the Sands, and at times his dad would bring him out on stage to say a couple of jokes.

Louis Jr. starting playing drums and piano at 5 years old and eventually picked up the trumpet around 11 years old and has been playing ever since.

A Biography on the Great Louis Prima- Louis Prima (1910–1978) was an American entertainer, singer, actor, and trumpeter. He was the “King of the Swingers.” Prima rode the musical trends of his time, but his style was always influenced by New Orleans and Sicily . In each of his musical endeavors, he incorporated his exuberant personality into his act.

Best remembered for his risqué Vegas act of the 1950's, Louis Prima was the ultimate showman. Loud, boisterous, and completely out front. His mix of rhythm and blues, big band music, Italian novelty tunes, and Dixieland made him one of the hottest performers of his era.

Born and raised in New Orleans, Prima studied violin as a child. He took up the trumpet at age fourteen after his brother, who was also a musician, went on tour and left behind an old instrument. Prima taught himself how to play and in the late 1920's and began to perform professionally.

In 1934 Prima moved to New York at the suggestion of bandleader Guy Lombardo. At first he struggled to find work but soon organized his own band, the New Orleans Gang, for an engagement at the Famous Door. The group quickly proved popular, recording for a variety of labels over the next several years. Despite this success, though, Prima remained relatively unknown to the general public, except as composer of the song ''Swing, Swing, Swing,'' which proved a big hit for Benny Goodman in the late 1930's.

In 1939 Prima broke up the New Orleans Gang and formed his own big band. Known as the Glee by Rhythm Orchestra. Prima's new outfit finally broke through in 1944 with ''Angelina,'' the first of several Italian novelty hits. Other popular songs written or performed by Prima during the late 1940's include ''Bell Bottom Trousers,'' ''Robin Hood,'' and the ballad, ''A Sunday Kind of Love.'' Prima handled male vocals in the band and the female vocalist was Lily Ann Carol.

In 1948 Prima hired 16-year-old Dorothy Keely as a replacement for Carol. The loud and boisterous Prima found a perfect foil in the shy young singer, whom he renamed Keely Smith.

The two produced a strong stage chemistry together, playing off their  opposite personalities, and quickly became the focus of each performance. In 1950 Prima broke up the band and formed a successful nightclub act with Smith. In 1953 they married.

By late 1954 Prima and Smith's act had run its course, and Prima began to look towards Las Vegas. He recruited popular New Orleans tenor saxophonist Sam Butera to put together a new band for a booking at the Sahara Hotel. Billed as the ''Wildest Show in Vegas,'' the new act was an immediate hit, and Prima was suddenly in demand, appearing frequently on television and in film. He soon signed with Capitol Records, producing several albums over the next few years and charting several hits, including ''Just a Gigolo'' and ''Oh, Marie!'' In 1958 he and Smith won a Grammy for their rendition of ''That Old Black Magic.''

In 1961 Prima took his show to the Desert Inn, at the same time, however, problems in his marriage with Smith finally came to a head. She divorced him and left the act. Prima then signed singer Gia Maione and continued performing. In 1967 Disney signed Prima to voice the character of King Louis in the Jungle Book , In 1975 Prima underwent surgery to remove a brain tumor. During the operation he fell into a coma and never regained consciousness. Louis Prima passed away in 1978.

Louis Prima and Gia Maione had two children Lena Prima and Louis Prima Jr. Both children are currently carrying out the Louis Prima legacy.

Louis Prima Jr. features the legendary songs of Louis Prima, such as, Angelina, Oh Marie, When the Saints Go Marching In, Jump, Jive, and Wale, I'm confessing that I love You, Sing, Sing, Sing, and of course Gigolo and many more. Louis Jr. will also be playing his father's original trumpet and mouth piece

Louis Jr. tells me that Prince is probably a Louis Prima fan from way back when thus giving him the opportunity to present what his legendary father has created.



If you have any comments or questions please contact me at [email protected]. You can watch Entertainment Las Vegas Style every Saturday night at 12:30 am on Vegas TV, Cable 14, TV-25, and again at 2:00 am (late night) on WB-Cable 12, TV-21. You can also listen to my radio show every Saturday at 5:00 pm on news radio K-NEWS 970 am, 5 – 6 p.m.



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